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Author Topic: [Report, 1st place] Thor's Hammer, Part Deux  (Read 2774 times)
Matt
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« on: October 01, 2005, 11:20:36 pm »

Thor's Hammer
October 1st, 2005
Saturday Legacy
8 players

I arrive at noon, and watch a game between Ken and Raymond, sporting Eureka and U/G Fish respectively. We accumulate 8 players and begin a little late because John and Raymond are building Debbie the a Gro deck to play with out of their spare cards. I try to pay attention to what people are playing with when deciding my last sideboard slots. I hadn't touched the deck since last week but made two sideboard switches. Here's what I play (again):

//GBu SurVial {61 cards}
//Engine {16}
4 Survival of the Fittest
3 Tortured Existence
2 Buried Alive
1 Intuition

4 Krovikan Horror
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
1 Genesis

//Destructive {10}
3 Cabal Therapy

1 Thrull Surgeon
1 Bone Shredder
1 Viridian Zealot
1 Masticore
1 Gilded Drake
2 Tradewind Rider

//Constructive {3}
1 Eternal Tiness
1 Spike Feeder
1 Spore Frog

//Mana {32}
4 Wall of Roots
2 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Llanowar Elves

4 AEther Vial

4 Bayou
2 Tropical Island
2 Polluted Delta
1 Bloodstainted Mire
1 Llanowar Wastes

6 Forest
3 Swamp
1 Island

//Sideboard {15}
SB: 4 Duress
SB: 4 Naturalize
SB: 1 Choke
SB: 1 Uktabi Orangutan
SB: 1 Elvish Lyrist
SB: 1 Spike Feeder
SB: 1 Withered Wretch
SB: 2 Eternal Witness

I took out the sideboarded Caller of the Claw and Silent Arbiter in exchange for the fourth Duress and fourth Naturalize. Other than that, idetntical to last week.

The field is this:

Matt, with G/B SurVial
John, with U/b/r Psychatog
Chris, with Sneaky-Go (looked a lot like Fujita's 1.x deck, with some Legacy-legal cards)
Frank, with Stompy
Ken, with Eureka-Pandeburst
Deborah, with Super Gro
Tristan, with Fecundity combo
Raymond, with what appeared to be Worse Than Fish


ROUND ONE
Versus Christopher (Sneak Attack)
He plays first, but I have a NUTTY draw, including Spore Frog, Genesis, Survival, and some land. My first draw is Tortured Existence, which I play. He manages to Breach in a Symbiotic Wurm, which smacks me and leaves a bunch of tokens. But I have hardcore Frog action going, and I only take two more damage the rest of the game, both self-inflicted. Eventually I Boneshredder/Masticore/Tradewind his tokens away and kill him with whatever's handy.

I sideboard -4 Wall of Roots, -1 Eternal Witness, +4 Duress, +1 Uktabi (fearing Tormod's/Furnace/Claws).

Game two I open 5 land, BoP, Gilded Drake. I would have kept versus an normal Reanimator deck but his guys are unlikely to stick around to be Draked so I send it back. I get six nonland cards (including 3 Duress!). I go to 5, keeping on Vial, Bop, Spike Feeder, 2 land. I draw and play another Tortured Existence. He doesn't seem to have a fast kill. At one point he casts Pyrokinesis to wipe me out, and gets in an attack with a Blazing Shoal'd Crater Hellion. But I have drawn Genesis and use that with Existence to recur a BoP and Vial it in, chump blocking for something like four attacks, while I draw some lands and a Survival. When I get a real creature, I go get the Frog lock and he cannot break it with Vial as part of it, so I win on a 5-card paris.

ROUND TWO
Versus John (Tog)
Game one he wins the die roll. He uses a LOT of Magma Jet and Serum Visions. I initially think he's playing some kind of U/r Trix, which scares me. But I had a Vial and a Spike Feeder so I hoped I could beat his Illusions with a surprise 4 life. But it never showed. Instead, on my third turn I cast a Tortured Existence, which goes through, and a Survival, which does not. I beat him up with Tortured Existence and a Sakura-Tribe Elder, getting some massive card advantage. He scoops to Tradewind Rider. I also saw Fledgling Dragon, but it didn't do him much good.

I sideboard -4 Wall of Roots, -1 Bone Shredder (I saw FTK but also Nightscape Familiar), -1 Spike Feeder, -1 Llanowar Elf, +1 Choke, +1 Eternal Witness, +1 Withered Wretch, +4 Duress. My standard approach when battling control decks is to side out all the acceleration, because I have lots of time to draw into actual lands. I agonized over whether to bring in Uktabi for possible graveyard hate, and also thought about Naturalize and the second Witness, but couldn't find room in the end.

Game two I mulligan to six cards and Duress a Pithing Needle, leaving him an Engineered Explosives and a Pyroclasm. This is a very close game. I eventually entice him into using the Explosives to take out my Tortured Existence and Vial. There is some nastiness involving a Tradewind Rider dying probably 3 times to various effects, and some combat damage. I draw and resolve a Withered Wretch. On his turn, I start to Wretch and he pumps Tog. He 'Clasms, clearing the board, but I have a Tortured Existence and double Horror working, and he knows he has to be the beatdown. He attacks for 4, but he could have all-inned and left me at 1 life. At some point he has to decide what to name on a second Pithing Needle, but I have Genesis and Zealot in the yard, Spore Frog lock going, and both Tortured Existence and Survival in play. He names Frog, forcing me to T.E. the Zelot up and kill the Needle, then T.E. the Frog up to keep his Tog and FTK at home.

In the end we go to extra turns, and I use a Drake to take his FTK, and Tradewind to bounce his Tog. On the fifth turn of extra turns, he is at 17 life. I am able to attack for 10, leaving him at 7. I cast Krovikan Horror, and have 5 mana left open to throw guys at him, but it isn't enough, and I accept the 1-0 victory.

ROUND THREE
Versus Deborah (Super Gro)
Deborah is in a very sour mood for being 2-0. She isn't very nice at all and seems to be annoyed by smiles and good opponents. At one point in our match she calls me "lucky" for something, which is the hallmark of a weak player and worse, a bad sport.

Game one I play first and she mulligans to six. I Therapy a Mage, flashback on StP while she's stuck on one Trop. I consider just going for the beatdown but she gets out two Werebears and reaches threshold by countering my Horror (which was going to love those 1/1 bears). My Horrors do a lot of the dirty work of killing those Bears and also the third Werebear she draws. She was really very upset that she wasn't winning, acting like a spoiled child. It was rather unseemly. She scoops after I kill her third Werebear and have my entire board position on hand.

I sideboard -1 Intution (I have yet to ever cast this, even once!), -1 Thrull (I wouldn't have time to abuse this), -1 Wall of Roots, -2 Sakura-Tribe Elder (I would rather lose this than Wall because she might bring in Armageddon), +3 Duress (couldn't find room for the fourth), +1 Withered Wretch (threshold guys), +1 Choke.

Game two I open with Duress followed by Therapy followed by Frog and Spike Feeder and more Horrors cluttering up the ground. She makes a huge mistake (which she immediately realizes) when she Mages naming Horror while I have a Vial set on four counters. She gets a Werebear in play but never achieves threshold for it. She scoops to something I didn't record.

Another stellar victory for me, going 3-0, 5-0-1. I win twelve packs for my effort, and I go with all-Darksteel. I open a Nexus and a couple minor rares like Sundering Titan and Viridian Zealot, as well as my third Skullclamp.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2005, 11:22:09 pm by Matt » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2005, 11:45:41 pm »

Hey, congratulations! Your reports are always a fun read.
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2005, 01:15:28 am »

With Survival use at a long time low I was wondering, would you consider this to be majorly competitive in a larger field?  I would think any deck sporting survival is just going to be much too slow against the mighty field of aggro and anti aggro.
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2005, 01:30:35 am »

First off, let's be real. When you say "aggro and anti aggro" you mean "Goblins." I'll come to that in a moment.

I absolutely destroy Landstill and other control and aggro-control decks. They have no real hope. Blue control has WAY too many threats coming at it from WAY too many directions, Vial gives Standstill (the card) fits, and I don't roll to ANY single card (for example, Coffin Purge might stop other Survival decks' recursion by nailing Squee and Genesis but I have three more Genesis and four more Squee where that came from). Only incredibly narrow cards like Planar Void would give me fits. And most of those are black, and nobody plays black.

Goblins, however, looks much worse. I can SB Engineered Plagues and pray, but really you need a good draw and for them to have a bad one. I haven't actually tested that matchup but that's what it looks like on paper. AEther Vial is huge there because it lets you play creatures (blockers, removal) while also drawing cards (Survival, Existence, Genesis).

Being able to put a Spore Frog into play on Goblins' turn is a huge, huge, huge advantage over other Survival decks. The question is, is it enough?
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2005, 01:50:42 am »

My thoughts were towards goblins yes. Razz

@Engineered Plague: I haven't even found that to be a big issue against goblins unless you get multiple out so I think pray is an adequette term there.

@Aether Vial:  I really like the idea of using Vial in this deck.  To be fair, I have really just wanted to run Sneak Attack and Survival toghethor for a while.  Aether Vial is a slightly different, much better version of Sneak Attack and so I really like it in a Survival deck in general.

@Froggies:  Frogs aren't that good versus goblins.  A Jitte, Sharpshooter, Siege Gang Commander, Lightning Bolt, etc, etc, stops Spore Frog.  I don't like that as an option against goblins.

@In General:  I like the idea of this but I think you would have to do some additional tuning just to face off against alot of goblins.  I was wondering if perhaps you had done such tuning (you don't have to give your list if you want to keep it secret) but maybe give some base ideas as to what significant improvements have to be made just to fix one BIG matchup.
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2005, 01:47:42 pm »

Quote
@Froggies:  Frogs aren't that good versus goblins.  A Jitte, Sharpshooter, Siege Gang Commander, Lightning Bolt, etc, etc, stops Spore Frog.  I don't like that as an option against goblins.
Don't be blinded by conventional wisdom. Those cards only stop the Frog lock when you are forced to play the Frog on your own turn. Keep a Vial set to one and put it into play on your opponent's upkeep.

And no, I have no particular tech for goblins. If I ever expect to play against good builds with moderate-or-better players, I would probably play a different deck. A single Plague is not a good solution for a controllish deck with few damage sources, but here it's much stronger, because Horror can play Phyrexian Plaguelord and mow down X/2 goblins which have been reduced to X-1/1. Unlike Psychatog or something, I actually have blockers!
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2005, 03:01:28 pm »

To be fair, you can also be burned out if you don't win in time - they have Sharpshooters and SGC, and each turn you fog is a ping from a Sharpshooter.

I like the deck, but my worry is you only have 1 Intuition to find Survival with, and you seem to need it a bit more than other decks.  Also, wouldn't Intuition be almost strictly better than Buried Alive if you can find the mana?
I like Vial here, but my worry is that you are on an all-time low for actual business spells, and how do you fare versus something like Troll or even worse, an untargetable trampler?
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2005, 01:37:06 am »

I might run another Intuition if I got the mana to work, but I have NEVER cast the one I have, and anyway I don't own any more.

I'm not reliant on Survival against control decks or non-incredible aggro decks. That's part of the appeal of this deck - it has other engines.

Troll gets blocked by Wall of course. Untargetable tramplers - like what, pray tell? Kodama of the North Tree? You just double block it then revive the dead blockers.
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2005, 09:34:22 am »

Matt, I really like the deck; Krovikan Horror is easily my favourite creature in Magic, very versatile, and Tortured Existence is something I've made good use of as well over the years.

I had a few questions about some of your card choices:
Why do you have your mana creatures (Birds, Llanowar Elves, Sakura Tribe-Elder) distributed in that way?  I noticed that your decision to run one Intuition was based on your own card availability, is it a similar situation in this case?  Would you run 4 Birds if they were available?

Also curious about the distribution of fetchlands, and the inclusion of Llanowar Wastes.  I would think running more green-based fetchlands would be helpful in the deck, although I could see splitting between Windswept Heath/Wooded Foothills and Polluted Delta, so that you still have a decent chance of finding your basic Island in case of non-basic land hate.  Do you think Llanowar Wastes is really necessary, given that you're running a full compliment of Bayou as well as 3 fetchlands?

Good job on winning the tournament, and thanks for the entertaining read!



 
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2005, 12:22:42 pm »

Zvi said something I agree with: Survival decks have two main problems. One, they are terrible without Survival. Tortured Existence plus the tutors (Buried Alive and Intuition) go a long way to correcting that, I feel. Two, their mana is terrible. They have a tendency to overload on mana creatures at the expense of lands, and anyone can tell you that the way to beat Survival is to attack its mana. By lessening my reliance on the fragile BoPs, my deck alleviates almost all that pressure, by using alternate mana sources. STE is a mana creature, but one which is absurdly difficult to shut off (he also provides other bonuses which I'll get to presently). And the granddaddy of creature-based mana production is AEther Vial, which is immune to virtually ALL the typical anti-Survival manakillers (Pyroclasm, Pyrokinesis & Co. are great against a BoP/Rofellos-heavy setup).  And Vial of course has other benefits as well.

Yes, they are all budget concerns. I would replace the Llanowar Elf with another BoP but no more. The STEs are really very good:

--Their acceleration is permanent and immediate (you can't kill it to keep me off my mana)

--They are an extremely good blocker, which makes them a huge pain for aggressive decks (watch a red player agonize over wasting a burn spell on them to let the Jackal Pup through!). That 1 power is a big plus!

--They are recurrable via Tortured Existence, which no other mana producer is. (Well, I suppose Tinder Wall). This is HUGELY important.

I have at times considered dropping a Wall of Roots for the third STE.

As far as the lands go, Llanowar Wastes too is a budget concern, and a fetchland would probably be better. The fetchland distribution was also limited to what I own, though it's never actually bothered me. I usually don't have to worry about basic forest because I run so many that I can simply draw into one.

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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2005, 05:24:44 pm »

Wow, your last round opponent was aweful.

In regards to the deck - I like it a lot. I even had to look up Tortured Existence - its not often I have to look up cards given my semi-photographic memory but that one has completely escaped my notice until now.
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2005, 06:39:46 pm »

Nothing constructive to say...

Just had to give you mad props about an infinity cool to the max deck, reminds me of the old survival extended decks.

About goblins, Silent Arbiter? Would probably be burned regardless, maybe just more Frogs? Or if you can reach 5 mana, at which point you would probably win anyway, Extinction?

What about something as janky as Propaganda, seems like you just need to stall until you have Fog + Recursion + Vial (optional) setup..
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2005, 01:08:40 am »

I usually SB an Arbiter. I didn't this time because I saw no one running goblins. I don't think I run enough blue sources to get turn 2-3 Propaganda consistently. Elephant Grass is POSSIBLE but not great because I'll want all my mana for my own purposes.

I used to run a Death's Head Buzzard as a cheap, tutorable sweeper.

Thanks for the props. Very Happy
« Last Edit: October 04, 2005, 01:11:57 am by Matt » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2005, 10:05:09 am »

Could something like Caltrops work? How fast can you empty your hand (Ensnaring Bridge, would work nicely against RGSA and AStompy too)?
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2005, 07:47:54 am »

Another option in the sweeper department is Gloomdrifter, unless you fear a lot of graveyard hate you have no difficulty reaching threshold. It is tutorable in your build and recursable as well. After it eats their face, it is a 2/2 flyer, which is fine. The benefit that he doesn't kill half your guys (the important half...) should be a bonus as well. It is awesome to see people doing well with Survival builds, especially alternate theories of use. Gratz on the beatings, but as your meta matures, it will rapidly find ways to deal with Survival and that is where the fun begins  Cool
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2005, 12:40:10 pm »

Quote
but as your meta matures,
Heh. And people say the vintage people are condescending! ;P
As it happens, the metagame is plenty mature. Like the rest of the country, Survival stopped showing up, largely because people are terrible netdeckers*, and the canonical ATS list is a horrible deck. So people stopped running anything to deal with Survival beyond the occasional Needle. So I exploited that metagame hole.

I've thought of Gloomdrifter but have been reticent to try it because threshold is not as easy to achieve as it looks. For the most part, the deck is built around having anything in the graveyard pop right back out of it! I do appreciate the suggestion though!


*as in, they refuse to alter netdecks, thinking they're some kind of sacred text.
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